Judge revokes pre-trial release of former Virginia cop facing Jan 6 charges
WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday ordered pre-trial detention of a former Virginia police officer who had 34 firearms on order at a gun dealership months after his arrest and initial pre-trial release on charges related to the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
In a court order, U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper found there was “probable cause to believe that Robertson committed a felony – willfully shipping or transporting firearms and ammunition despite being under felony indictment – while on pretrial release”.
The judge said that on June 30, prosecutors sought Robertson’s arrest, resulting in the judge issuing a warrant leading to his arrest and detention on July 7 pending a ruling on the government’s request to revoke his pre-trial release – the ruling the judge issued late on Wednesday.
A lawyer for Robertson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Arguing for Robertson’s pre-trial detention, prosecutors said Robertson, then still serving as a police officer in Rocky Mount, Virginia, was photographed in the Capitol during the riot making an obscene gesture in front of a statute.
Prosecutors cited social media postings by Robertson touting the Capitol riot and appearing to endorse further political violence.
Following his initial release, prosecutors said the FBI learned Robertson was still “buying firearms and ammunition online and shipping these items in interstate commerce.”
In a June 29 search of Robertson’s home, the judge said, the FBI found a loaded M4 military-style assault rifle as well as what “appears to be a partially assembled pipe bomb.”
And on June 29, a Roanoke, Virginia gun dealer told the FBI Robertson had 34 guns waiting to be picked up.
“Robertson’s procurement of these dangerous weapons under the surrounding circumstances heightens the risk to public safety,” the judge said, ordering Robertson’s continuing detention.
Reporting By Mark Hosenball; Editing by Lincoln Feast.
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